By Beth Scott, AAUW
Starting today, certain women’s preventive care services will be available without a co-pay to insured women. Although some women won’t have access to these benefits until their insurance-plan year begins on January 1, 2013, this coverage will benefit millions of women across the country. AAUW believes that everyone is entitled to health care that is high-quality, affordable, and easily accessible, and we believe preventive care coverage is a remarkable step in that direction.
The two leading causes of death for women in America are heart disease and cancer — afflictions that can often be prevented if women have access to services such as screenings, immunizations, and educational materials. Beginning today, insurance companies must cover — without co-pays or cost-sharing — women’s preventive health care services such as screenings for cancer, domestic abuse, and gestational diabetes as well as well-woman visits and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive services. These services are in addition to the covered preventive care services for all adults, which became available without co-pay in 2010.
After controversy over the inclusion of contraceptives on the list of covered services, the Obama administration announced an accommodation for religiously affiliated universities and employers that allows insurers instead of employers and schools to pay for this coverage. Thankfully, women will still have access to contraception without co-pay no matter where they work or attend school.
Access to preventive services such as contraception, education, counseling, and expanded health screening will help women control, track, and better manage their lifelong health. These services are so critical to women’s health and well-being that they should be available to all women without exception. A number of provisions in the health care reform law improve access to health care so that more women can get coverage.
Americans cannot continue to refuel our economy as productive members of the workforce if we are sick, saddled with health care costs, or — in the case of women — blatantly discriminated against by our insurance providers. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means that these gains won’t be rolled back, but it’s up to all of us to make our voices heard and keep pushing for a health care system that’s equitable to women.
AAUW is working to make sure that the voices of all women are heard on issues of health care and much more. The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign is making an unprecedented investment in turning out women voters. AAUW is educating, engaging, and registering millennial women voters — young adults ages 18–30 —across the country. Together, we’ll ensure that women understand what’s at stake in 2012 and know how to use their voices and their votes to influence the election and protect women’s health care gains!
To celebrate free preventive care services for women, AAUW is hosting a virtual party. Stop in throughout August, and tell us why you’re celebrating!
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.